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Friday, 30 September 2016

Captain Comet -Protocols



*Captain Comet was created by Jock McCail for Swan Comics in the 1940s.

DON'T Eat The Egg! Silvermaigne and "The Egg" by Ben R. Dilworth


Bristol Comic and Zine Fair -IT'S TOMORROW!!



Bristol Comic and Zine Fair
 
With an awesome line up of artists, self publishers and zinesters, including Paul Ashley Brown, it looks like this is going to be great! 
 
It's on Saturday 1st October, at The Station in Bristol.
More details go to bczf.co.uk

"You seem quite high profile"

Just had a chat to someone who got my name from BBC Radio Bristol and he has done some research on me (oooh). He asked why, if I've been publishing from Bristol since the early 1980s I won't do local comic events?

Sigh.

I pointed out that I have NEVER boycotted nor refused to do any comic events in Bristol. It's just that no one tells me about events and when they do I never get a table. "You seem quite high profile" he says. So I pointed out that this gave me zero per cent guarantee of getting a table at an event because it's all very much a clique and who you know.

I try to be polite to these people but it's hard.  So hard.  So is trying to be polite!

Right Now....THEY Could Be Our Last Hope


Black Tower Open Revenue Report

Default Logo

To date, 2016 has seen some 24 books sold. Sales totalling £62.83 but note that every sale tagged as "US" has later had US taxes paid (something Lulu -the POD) does not show but which would be helpful.  So "Revenue" is sales before tax (which is why you see "Revenue*").

Where you see £0.00 those are some of the books I purchased for friends hence, I make no money!

In total some eight (8) books were purchased by people in the United States but taxes took care of a lot of that BUT I am very grateful for any custom!

Only six (6) were sold in the UK which shows the amount of interest here though, again, I do not turn my nose up at any custom am I am grateful someone in the UK bought my books.

Someone in Italy purchased the Ultimate British Gold Collection and I hope he/she enjoyed it! Well, no one in the UK seems interested in our comics history so...

And I am VERY grateful to whomever it was in France that purchased Some Things Strange & Sinister and Some More Things Strange & Sinister -Thank you"

taking away the US taxes the total sales revenue up to September is around £48.00 which, for a business I work on 7 days a week, holidays included, is...a loss.

Check it out yourselves...





And you want to know about September sales?

So there you go.  Open publishing which is 99.9% unheard of in UK comics (I'm the 1%!) and with the wide spectrum of genres and books Black Tower has -the biggest selection in Europe- you have to ask how this is alleged to be a "thriving and growing industry"?

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Superheroes vs. DC's Dominators


CW More Superhero Shows

CW's 4-Way 'Arrowverse' Crossover to Pit Superheroes vs. DC's Dominators


The Big Bad battle lines have been drawn.
This fall’s four-way crossover between ArrowThe FlashSupergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will pit the super crew against DC Comics’ Dominators, TVLine has learned. Arrow and Legends EP Marc Guggenheim says he’s “taking inspiration from a DC crossover from the late 1980s known as Invasion!, which featured an alien picrace called the Dominators, who’d previously vexed the Legion of Superheroes.
“We’re using cutting-edge prosthetics and computer effects to achieve a feature film-quality look,” Guggenheim adds, “which is faithful toInvasion! artist Todd McFarlane’s interpretation of the characters.”

Last week, Guggenheim tweeted an image from the table read for Arrow‘s 100th episode — a linchpin of the ambitious four-pronged event — that confirmed the return of Jamey Sheridan as Oliver’s father Robert. And earlier this week, Amell released his own teaser pic that strongly hinted at a Deathstroke cameo (although it’s unclear if original portrayer Manu Bennett was under the mask).
There are also strong indications that Katie Cassidy — who was killed offArrow last spring but now has a series regular deal across all the CW hero shows — will turn up in some capacity.
The CW superhero slate kicks off its new seasons starting Tuesday, Oct. 4 (with The Flash), followed by Arrow(Wednesday, Oct. 5), Supergirl(Monday, Oct. 10) and Legends of Tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 13)

STORMCLOUDS - He's Dead Jim.

PLEASE NOTE: Black Tower Publisher Statement


For the last five -5- years, Black Tower Comics & Books have had cover prices reduced and kept artificially low so as to try to encourage sales. Even at prices that made no money for the publisher the campaign failed.

Because of this and the fact that taxes are paid on any book sold to a US buyer (and that is no small amount) as well as the fluctuating £ (again -a bargain time to buy books from outside the UK getting -no responses) you will notice that book prices are increasing.

This will be done on a week-by-week basis over the next month.

I won't apologise for the price increases since Black Tower has bucked the price increase trend for more than six years now and it has made no difference to sales.  So now we go "business" and if there is a book you wanted to get (I'm biting my tongue here because of the number of people who write "I am going to have to buy that one!" and never do) then now is the time.

Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes as well as The Cross Earths Caper will be the last books to see the prices increased (after all, Return is over 300 pages) and that increase will seem steep but...tough.

After years of trying to be comic fan friendly and offering deals that no other company would offer because, being a comic fan I always wanted to give good deals that were affordable and I'd go for,   The response in sales has been "Zero".

Now you'll be dealing with a proper publisher and proper prices.  

The Collected Merriwether: God's Demon-Thumper!


Terry Hooper-Scharf & Benjamin R. Dilworth
85 pages
A4
B&W
£8.00
Ships in 3–5 business days

The complete Merriwether series, originally published in Black Tower Adventure and A Little Midnight Horror–but with three strips never before published… including the Reverend’s battle with the ultimate Evil! 

From The Horror Of Hob Street to The Village Of Demons and Varney the Vampyre to The Fallen Angel himself, see how one Church of England vicar deals hard-fisted [and various spiked objects] justice to the ungodly ...and pays the ultimate price!!! 

 At the end of Merriwether:Gods Demon-Thumper, the Reverend had been confronted by Satan and as a consequence lay fatally injured. Star of 1980s comics, Benjamin R. Dilworth, takes us through the fleeting seconds before death as Merriwether has flash backs showing just why he took on the career he did. Be prepared for horror and a little tongue-in-cheek humour. 

If you were into Charlton Horror Comics or any horror comic then this one is for you!

COMIC HORROR FANS WILL LOVE THIS!

Bristol Comic and Zine Fair Saturday, 1st October


Bristol Comic and Zine Fair
 
With an awesome line up of artists, self publishers and zinesters, including Paul Ashley Brown, it looks like this is going to be great! 
 
It's on Saturday 1st October, at The Station in Bristol.
More details go to bczf.co.uk

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Adventures Of Mark Tyme Collection



The Adventures Of Mark Tyme Collection

Paperback, 
A4
B&W
104 Pages
Price: £10.00 (excl. VAT)
Prints in 3-5 business days

Only two issues were published of The Adventures of Mark Tyme. As with the companion title,The Purple Hood,the artist was Michael Jay who has since faded into obscurity. Join Mark Tyme on his time travelling adventures to Roman Britain,the Stone Age,a pirate island,9th century Britain,outer space and other destinations.

The Purple Hood Collection


The Purple Hood Collection
A4
Black & white
Perfect bound
Paperback, 108 Pages£10.00 (excl. VAT)Prints in 3-5 business days

It was the Swinging Sixties! Britain was hip as hip could be -The Beatles ruled Pop! And everyone was looking toward a bright future…if there wasn’t a nuclear war! Middle Eastern threats,Eastern European fascists,flying saucer flying megalomaniacs and super mole machines and others threatened our little island. But we had the ultimate answer to these:The Purple Hood -International crime-smasher! Michael Jay’s Purple Hood now collected into over a hundred pages of action and text back-up. This is THE ultimate collection!


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Drawn & Quarterly -Mooncop by Tom Gauld

In a hostile take-over bid involving 1p per share in Black Tower and CBO Lord Brown of Bristol has taken over (and I've made 1p which is my best sale this year!).


MAJOR TOM
Mooncop by Tom Gauld
Published by Drawn & Quarterly 
100 pages 
£12.99 uk.

Back around 2001 I was in my last year of an Illustration Degree, and had ventured up to that London with a group of Friends from the Course to attend the Royal College of Art's Open Day, part of which was an Introductory talk by  Andrzej Klimowski, the Head of the Illustration Course there, and part of the talk included a slideshow/powerpoint presentation of work by various past and current students there. To be honest, I wasn't enamoured with many of the examples on show, considering them embarrassingly vacuous drivel, like animated dancing pasta, or a film someone had made of a bridge they'd just driven over, but then shown upside-down. The kind of conceptual codswallop that people who actually can't paint or draw do, y'know. But then among these tragic excuses of artistic expression was a drawing of some rain, with a dryly witty caption that was actually funny. The students name was Tom Gauld, and he'd apparently made little comics with another student on the course named Simone Lia. I made a mental note of the name, based solely on that one panel.

 Since then, I have continued making comics in virtual anonymity (bitter, me? Yes !) while Gauld and Lia have both gone on to make successful careers as "Graphic Novellists"(for want of a better identity descriptor). Gauld's last book was Goliath, a rather witty and oddly moving "re-imagining"(as Tim Burton's Publicists might put it) of The Biblical characters final days. In his new book, he's travelled farther into the future, to tell a slim yet equally affecting tale of the last Policeman on the Moon.

What I like about this book is it's blatant lack of plot dynamic, which allows Gauld to do what he does best. Which often is, seemingly, not much. But for those familiar with his work, it's the lack of movement,the "non-dynamic" as it were, that's everything. But let's get what suffices as "plot" out of the way. There's this guy on the Moon, who's the policeman for the Lunar Colony that's been established there.  Sadly though, it seems the Lunar Colony is on it's last legs, everyone's leaving and returning to Earth, and there's very little for a Mooncop to do, by way of crime. Or living, it seems. That's it. There's your story. Nothing's happening here, it would seem.

Of course there's actually a bit more to it than that really.

You could say it's about the individual's sense of desolation, human obsolescence in the face of technology (technology that never seems to work however !!!), the need for others in the face of melancholy and loneliness, the failed pursuit of ambition and dreams, and the triumph of love and doughnuts.

What I'd say above all else is that this is the best thing Gauld's done yet.

In this book, Gauld seems to have found the natural landscape for his storytelling skills. The moon is empty, desolate, and most importantly silent. See, Gauld's great strength as a cartoonist is in understanding the importance of stillness and silence in narrative, and describing them. His humour derives from a rather beautiful understatement in both his pictures and words, that have weight because so little seems to be occuring. He also has a terrific sense of rhythm and balance throughout, and has the timing of all great comics in delivering these neat little punchlines. His panels seem to embody the very idea of the "still-life", whereby every element is there for the purpose of the story, and not moving, which means you have to pay attention, you have to look at he picture, what's going on in it. There's no showing off in his work, yet this little book is like a masterclass in pacing and storytelling.

Gauld's work always looks deceptively simple, like he's spent the last Religious Education lesson of a Friday afternoon doodling away at ease in the back of his exercise book to avoid boredom. All the elements in his stories are delinated in an instantly recognisable style of neat little rapiographed etches and cross-hatching. Like all really good cartoonists there's a wonderfully coherent and concise quality to his drawing which tells you everything you need to know in each picture,which remains consistent throughout the book. He never overdraws-take away the hatching and each element in   the panel is rendered simply, without fuss, the hatching's there for weight and tone, not for showing us his brilliance at cross-hatching. What I was enamoured with in Mooncop was the composition of his pages, just how well he understands how to move a story along visually, even if it seems it's not moving. Then there's the balance of each page. This whole book is so beautifully balanced visually, yet the arrangements per page are so utterly simple. There's not a single page with more than 6 panels. Often it's his use of one panel pages that's truly clever and wonderful here. They often act as a bridge between the small incidental events in the story, and they also create a sudden sense of scale, whether it's Mooncop passing another man-made relic of the Lunar Clony on his silent way across the lunar surface, the Earth sat alone in the sky above, or the newly erected Lunar Doughnut shop sat in the middle of an uninhabited nowhere. They're silent punctuations that suggest isolation, and the vastness of space, and still reflection. Gauld's genius is in the skill of "the Pause", and how to use it. And there aren't many that use it so well. Here's someone who truly understands the form, nature and language of the comic-strip.


And he's also gently funny, in a way that reminds me of film-maker Bill Forsyth, another craftsman of wryly incidental and softly eccentric understated comedy. There are some lovely sequential bits of humour throughout, Mooncop completeing his Monthly Crime Stats,the Robot replacement Lunarmart operative,looking for a colonists lost dog, Neil Armstrong(!!???), and the therapy unit that arrives to see if Mooncop is suffering from depression. Yet also underlying the humour is a quiet sad melancholy; the realisation that your reason for existing may be pointless, what you dreamt of as a future wasn't what you hoped it would turn out to be, and that you and eveything you knew that existed will one day be obsolete and replaced.As one incidental character states," Living on the Moon...Whatever were we thinking? It seems rather silly now".

Yet despite this, the book ends on a warm and optimistic note of sorts, that while the heart beats, hope, and life, is never entirely lost. Within this deceptively simple and quietly beautiful little book, Tom Gauld manages to tell us huge truths about the nature of our modern lives, and does so with an assuredness and skill in comic-strip narrative that students in the form would do well to investigate, and those more weathered in the landscape would do well to admire.

Paul Ashley Brown

Nerdzig auf der Connichi 2016 - Interview mit Lightning Cosplay

Focus On Paul Ashley Brown (but not his leg!)

Now, I could have written a long piece about Mr Brown (you HAVE to call him "Mr" or his mother will knife you -seriously) but he might think I'd gone sweet on him and that ain't the way the Hooper Drum Rolls, dig?

What better way to make people aware of his etchings before this Saturday's Zine Fair in Bristol than post a few past reviews and lots of lovely art and a wee bit of info about him (if you want the real truth just give me a wad of cash).
Paul Graduated from the University of the West of England in 2001 with a BA (Hons) Degree in Illustration. Since 2008 he has been self-publishing the Zine Browner-Knowle, a collection of his short narrative drawings and comic-strips. as well as other one-off titles. His work has featured in publications The Illustrated Ape, Strike! , Publish YOU!, The Comix Reader, The Affordable Amazement Catalogue, Indestructible Energy, Workburger, Stripburger, and Colour Me BAD !  .

He lives and works in Bristol, England.
Up-dated website with recent drawings, and Yo-Yo Buk Stupidity-see examples below if you can't be bothered to go there.







Defective Comics Get A Copy -QUICKLY!

Tell you what, you stick to your "They'll be worth even less in 50 years time" DC and Marvel comics. Me, I just bought a dozen of these because the legal notice should be served in late August -28th- so banned by DC, all the things in this mean I'll be making some easy money in about a year from now.

Never say I didn't give you the heads up.  Once gone -you lose!

Up-date If you really want to buy a book that will be rare and therefore a good investment and have a story behind why it is rare -this is it.  Word on the grapre-vine is that DC are about to threaten legal action to stop this loving parody.

Buy quickly because lawyers work fast on high salaries!




Defective Comics
Writer: Peter (The Golden Wonder Boy) Lally
Art: Paul (Bat-Probe) BrownA516pp
According to Mr Brown: "Hallo Tel um, it's £3 + £1 p&p. Paypal me at paulashleybrown@gmail.com, with your address. Isn't that enough eh? 


 Oh dear. I kept hearing Batman's dialogue in Adam West's voice and the Joker's in Mark Hamill's. Naturally, we all know whose voice Robin had -?

I reviewed the last hilarious outing of this creative duo back in 2010 -Donald Hamilton: Mind Your Manners, which looked at the sad story of a former TV icon and his fall from grace...hilariously. Sadly, the review was on the old CBO and not on Blogger.  However, Comic Reader recommended it: 

This is a darker, jaded Batman who might be described as "very weary" and angry. Quite, quite Bat-angry.  Look at that Front cover. Bloody "Hoodies".  But then, Aquaman seems almost on the verge of a breakdown while Robin...well, Robin apparently has a nice arse but cannot get a girlfriend though he does get his bum pinched a lot if he goes into bars.  ahem.

This was all rather fun and the ending sees everyone happy except, maybe, Commissioner Gordon. Lovely solid negatives (Holy black and white art done proper!). This is The Killing Joke as Moore should have done it and very relevant at the moment. Hoy -Moore: read this and see how fun comics with "social comment" should be done.

Lally does not produce enough scripts but that could be because he is living "outside the system" in Berlin and on the run from Opus 21 hit-squads -you did read my review of that, right? 

But when "The Golden Wonder Boy" teams up with Paul (Bat-Probe) Brown it all clicks together to make a great, and very funny read.  Add to that the quality of printing by Pat-Print Prods (my scans aren't doing it justice) and lovely thick and almost glossy interior pages -it's pure quality.

People: this is what Small Press comics should look like.



Browner-Knowle 8 (or BK8 for d'yoot)


Paul Ashley Brown
48pp
A5 (Digest)
Black and White
£5.00

Firstly, no, I have no idea how you can get a copy other than to look out for Mr Brown at some effete Small Press event. Review after review I say "People need to know how to order" but does it sink in?  No. And I give up.  But it does mean -this will irritate him- that if you are looking for investment comics you need to latch on to Browner Knowle -not widely available and with limited print runs.

Before I do my bit, for what it's worth, I thought I'd look around and see what others had written -if any had- about BK 8.

Well, I found one review posted by Peter Stanbury  http://comiket.comica.london/paul-ashley-brown-comics/
"Once again, Paul Ashley Brown serves up a motley crew of characters passing through the melancholy landscape of a lost and lonely England.

From shopaholic old ladies reeling round supermarkets, to doped-up sofa wastrels off their faces and out of their minds; half-glimpsed street nutters and lonely female librarians, war veterans and street photographers, all are revealed in words and images that are by turns cruel, funny, perverse, sad, tragic, compassionate, violent and contemplative.

Expect melancholic musings of love, loss, and what it means to be (barely) alive. With added excessive offensive language, and scenes of a (peculiar) sexual nature, this is sure to affirm Brown’s position of being the most anonymous outsider out there. With justifiable cause!"

The link will take you to links for a couple other PAB books.


Paul Ashley Brown exhibiting himself in Finland


Having seen all the Browner Knowles one thing struck me straight away -colour cover.  And a very nice colour cover to boot.  There is also another nice illo on the back cover but you need to buy the book to see that!

The other thing I noted is quality of the paper and printing.  No one really cares what I think, I know, but after seeing thousands of publications in 40+ years these things jab my brain.  The thickness and sturdiness of the paper are good.  These pages are not going to tear or crease unless you want to do that. The printing is quite luscious. No faded or not-quite black printing. 

This is very good quality printing and so the negatives (black -ink/white -paper) are excellently balanced.  This is also a Perfect Bound book and I can tell you the spine is tough as concrete.  I know this because while I was on the floor (you don't need to know why) BK8 fell of a shelf and almost concussed me: that is one tough spine.








Quality wise, I have to say that this is the best issue to date.  So then we have to contents.

My two favourite pages -well, double spread- are the character looking out of the window at the night bus as it passes.  Vivianand Satellites of Love are two other favourites. Missus Necessary  might look like it is going to be just a humour strip but there's more to it.  In fact, BK8 was not as suicide inspirational as you might think from the usual Mr Brown fair.

Very enjoyable but I still have to ask why, with all the far, far lesser talents picked up by publishers to produce graphic novels, no one has approached Paul Ashley Brown?  That shows the poor state of comics or, as the arty farty set prefer to call it, the "graphic illustration scene"

If you can find a copy buy a copy!











Like The Strangers That You've Met Drawings By Paul Ashley Brown

PAB
21 x 21.5 cms
20pp
black and white
£4.00
available from  Paul Ashley Brown, c/o 15 Wedmore Vale Road, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 5HQ


Having just sold one heck of a lot of books at the Alternative Press event in London, Mr. Brown is one of those creators I keep telling people that they need to invest in. 

His books have sold in Europe and he has been to Finland and Japan which adds to his already existing following in the UK.

Mr. Brown is currently working on other projects but tends to not over expose his work.  So this makes that work much sought after!


Rather than use the familiar format of the Browner Knowle series, Mr. Brown has opted for a more squarish format and, sadly, my scanner does not show the nice yellow shade of the cover -but that's scanners for you!

The scanner does not do justice to the pencil artwork which is a great pity as these centre pages I really like.  And it is an even bigger annoyance because with today's printing technology you can reproduce pencil art superbly -it's when it gets into the hands of kack-handed scanner-reviewers that it goes wrong!

For investment, and if you can get a hold of copies because these are low print run books, I would say buy this book orBrowner Knowles or any of his books -the mini Yo Yo books sell like hot-cakes on a cold Winters day so if you can buy any of those do!

And if you have bought a copy of  number 6 of The Comix Reader -check online to buy at http://www.thecomixreader.com/
 - you will see some of Mr. Brown's colour work.

Again, if you get a folded newspaper size comic it will get creases -and the actual colours on this piece are quite subtle.


No Tobias Tak in this edition which means that Mr. Brown's work is the stand-out piece in the comic.  Again, I don't think The Comic Reader has a massive print-run so worth getting and there is the added bonus that newspaper format comics in the UK are VERY rare

But you can order the latest Paul Ashley Brown book directly from him so why not ask him to sign your copy?

Really is a nice book and I have to add it to my collection which includes Judge Dredd and Blue Saviour illustrations by said Bristol's own King of Zines!

Highly recommended.




 http://illustrators.co/sites/default/files/the-leaving-detail.preview.jpg

The Return Of Paul Ashley Brown Anon.

 ANON
Paul Ashley Brown
Browner Knowle Publications
8 or 16 pages
A4 or A3
£3.00 + £1.00 p&p 

The Bristol art leg end that is Paul Alouitiuos Makepiece Kitchener Lady Chaterley Brown -aka Ashley Simpson aka Paul Ashley Brown was bound to return. After the Browner Knowle issue cited in Parliament as being responsible for mass suicides -and which I am legally obliged not to mention here- we have another offering from the living Erzatz.

You know he hates me, right? Rival more like.

There may be a few who wonder why I've written "A4/A3" and "8 or 16 pages"?  Simple.  This is an un-stapled, loose-leaf offering offering double spreads so they are A3 folded to A4. There is the usual collection of eccentrics and sketches from life and do not panic -still the faint hint of depression here but all enjoyable.


However, there is ONE reason why you ought top get a copy of this latest offering. If only the story behind it were included but it is a case of "protecting the innocent".  Here is that reason:

Paul Ashley Brown: Anon 2

Anon 2
Paul Ashley Brown
Browner Knowle
A4
16pp


Firstly, this is printed on a slightly tinted paper which looks nice but fecks things up on scanning. So I had to turn 'em into black and white art pages.  Does look better with the tint, though.

Now, I do not usually look at other reviews but this one caught my eye:



"Reading this will make you a goddam sexual tyrranosaur!"

Dr Jessie Ventura
Karachi Medical Gazette

That is some recommendation.

Well, if there was one positive side to last weekends BCZF it was that Mr Paul Ashley Brown sold a fair doings of zines. He stood there, drinking an espresso with his t-Shirt emblazoned with "Je ne suis pas prétentieux, je ne suis que l'artiste!"*


 I have written "16 pages" but that is not quite accurate.  This book is not stapled and that is for a very good reason: the pages open up to make four A3 posters.  My favourite of these is this one:

 I have written "16 pages" but that is not quite accurate.  This book is not stapled and that is for a very good reason: the pages open up to make four A3 posters.  My favourite of these is this one:



 You do get the one page treats such as "Humpty On The Edge Forever" that Mr Brown calls "Mon déchirant chef-d'œuvre de la vie!"** And who could argue with that? I cried. I truly cried.*** I do like the use of solid black and white here which balances out the page.




 And Mr Brown did say that far more would be revealede about what he calls his "mes penchants sexuels torrides" and I'm guessing this page covers that. Believe me, that illo is physically spot on accurate, boy. This is half of one of the A3 posters I was referring to and if you want to see the women in the other half you will have to buy. Gave me the right horn. Although, this illustration of its own accord has a slight, what the French call "taquineries sexuelle".  Hmm?

Yes, no cover logo...and yet we knew it was Anon 2 because Mr Brown told us so.

Here is a comparison with Storm which I just reviewed.  This is an art style I've not seen anyone other than Mr Brown employ and it works for style of story telling -whether simply illustrative or text accompanied. I don't have any problem recommending this -simply contact Mr Brown and ask the cost!



 Reviewers notes.
*"I am not pretentious. I am merely THE artist!"
**"My heart wrenching masterpiece about life!"
***And did I cry -I whacked my big toe against the table leg.

I may have been lying about some things in this review but not the book.  Buy a copy and get in on why he's so popular!

_________________________________________________________


And if none of that convinced you that you need to get some PAB books for your collection let me just add that Defective Comics has been well received in Finland, Germany and, I believe, Japan.